For Fraud Prevention Month in March, we compiled a list of five tips to help prevent the most commonly reported type of fraud, identity theft and scams. This type of fraud happens when criminals use stolen personal information, which they may have collected via a data breach or by sending out phishing emails, smishing text messages or vishing voice messages. It can also occur from less sophisticated means, such as mail theft or stolen documents that contain personal information.
To keep yourself safe and help prevent identity theft and scams, here are five tips from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CFAC).
Tip # 1: Be wary of unsolicited requests! If you receive an unexpected text, phone call, email or letter requesting personal or financial information, do not respond until you verify the ask is legitimate using a different method of communication.
Tip # 2: Stay on top of your reports! Be sure to consistently check your credit report or credit card statements for any irregularities and if you see something amiss, report it right away to your financial institution or to CFAC.
Tip # 3: Before you toss it, shred it! Always be sure to shred personal and financial documents before they go in the garbage so they don’t end up in the hands of criminals.
Tip # 4: Don’t let your mail pile up! Retrieve your mail on a regular basis to reduce the chances of mail theft, especially if you have an unsecured mailbox by your front door or front step, as these can be easy to steal from when you’re not at home.
Tip # 5: Let everyone know when you move! If you are moving or have moved recently, don’t forgot to notify the post office, your financial institutions and service providers (as well as your grandma, of course) to prevent your important mail from going to the wrong place.